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“H” Is For …

… Howard The Duck! (1976)

The late, great Hunter S. Thompson said that when the going gets weird, the weird turn pro, and in this weirdest of weird times, the pro I miss most (along with the aforementioned Doctor Gonzo), is the great Steve Gerber.

I think that Steve would have had a lot to say about the current state of the world, which seems more comic-bookish than half the comics in my collection. Howard would have afforded Gerber with the perfect platform to tear apart the supervillians and talking heads polluting my newsfeed … and the time might even be right for Howard to mount another Presidential run!

(We could do a lot worse).

We miss you, Howard, Hunter, and Steve!

Tell me about your favorite “H” books in the comments section, below!

Honorable Mentions:

  • Hercules (2015)
  • House of Secrets (1956)

Check out the complete Longbox Graveyard Comics A-To-Z HERE!

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Howard The Duck #1

HOWARD THE DUCK #1

Capsule Review

I fell like a killjoy by not liking this. Writer Chip Zdarsky and artist Joe Quinones have put together what seems like a fun book. Or maybe it just seems like they had fun putting it together, I dunno. I’m old enough to remember Steve Gerber’s Howard the Duck for rapid-fire and biting social commentary, and while it is entirely possible I’m seeing the past through the wrong end of the telescope, I found this Howard a pretty weak reflection of the original. Here Howard is a private detective who is sick of his life and solicits the help of Doctor Strange to return to his old world, which entails a road trip to Florida punctuated by multiple scene-setting flashbacks (none of which, amazingly, clue the reader into the basic how-and-why of a talking duck in the Marvel Universe). This Howard has plenty of heart, but he has lost his teeth. The in-joke Marvel gags are just OK, and the book’s one political joke is a soundbite-driven showdown with a redneck truck driver that’s intended to be a roundhouse punch, but lands like a feather pillow. Waugh!

Approachability For New Readers

Poor. The book starts with a flashback to an event that is never explained or put in context, and you’ll have to rely on Wikipedia to learn the basics of Howard himself.

Read #2?

No.

Sales Rank

(#28 November)

Read more capsule reviews of Marvel’s All-New All-Different rolling reboot.

Howard The Duck #1

 

March Madness Super-Animal Showdown — Final Four!

The NCAA Basketball Tournaments may be calling it quits, but the March Madness Super-Animal Showdown is just getting to the good stuff!

Our Final Four is set after a quarterfinals round that saw favorites Krypto and Howard the Duck cruise into their semi-final matchup, while underdogs Devil Dinosaur and Lockjaw both scored upsets to set the stage for an all-Kirby semi on the other side of the bracket!

Let’s meet our Final Four!

Krypto

#1 overall seed. Defeated Max, G’nort, and Comet to reach the Final Four.

Adventure Comics #210

First appearance: Adventure Comics #210 (March 1955). Created by Otto Binder and Curt Swan.

Howard the Duck

#4 seed. Defeated Hoppy the Wonder Bunny, Throg, and Gorilla Grodd to reach the Final Four.

Howard the Duck #1

First appearance: Adventure Into Fear #19 (December 1973). Created by Steve Gerber and Val Mayerik.

Devil Dinosaur & Moon Boy

#7 seed, and entered the tournament as a “play-in” candidate, having been passed over in the committee’s initial seeding. Defeated Titano, Mr. Mind, and Rocket Raccoon to reach the Final Four.

Devil Dinosaur #1

First appearance: Devil Dinosaur #1 (April 1978). Created by Jack Kirby.

Lockjaw

#11 seed, and the lowest seed still standing, wearing Cinderella’s glass slippers on all four of his floppy feet. Defeated Lockheed, Ace the Bat-Hound, and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to round out the Final Four!

Lockjaw & The Pet Avengers

First appearance: Fantastic Four #45 (December 1965). Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.

All right … you know the drill … it’s time to vote for your favorite Super-Animals! Here are the semi-final matches!

Krypto (d. Comet, 79-21), vs. Howard the Duck (d. Gorilla Grodd, 56-44)

Krypto vs. Howard the Duck

Devil Dinosaur & Moon Boy (d. Rocket Raccoon, 60-40) vs. Lockjaw (d Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, 67-33)

Devil Dinosaur vs. Lockjaw

Here’s your up-to-the-second tournament breakdown!

Final Four

Some tasty match-ups here … and the Final is going to be amazing! Meet me back here next week for the championship match, and be sure to cheer on your favorite in the comments section, below!

March Madness Super-Animal Showdown — Elite Eight!

The battles heated up in the Sweet Sixteen round of the March Madness Super-Animal Showdown! We are now down to our Elite Eight — and here are the headlines!

Favorties Advance!

Krypto, Gorilla Grodd, and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles all won by wide margins, surprising no one in their march to their regional finals. Rallying from his narrow overtime victory in the first round, Comet had little trouble in stomping Streaky (at last he has Supergirl all to himself!).

lovesick Comet

let it go, Comet … it can never be!

One-Vote Winners!

Two matches game down to a single vote this round, although in both cases the higher seed advanced. Howard the Duck barely beat out a very game Thunder Frog, while Devil Dinosaur hung on by his tiny little arms to defeat the evil Mr. Mind.

Devil Dinosaur

Devil Dinosaur has an edge thanks to his ace corner-man, Moon Boy!

Day of the Underdog!

The biggest “upset” of the round saw Lockjaw blowing out Ace the Bat-Hound by 34 points … but that probably just means that I’d over-seeded Ace (because Batman). Lockjaw now wears Cinderella’s slippers as the lowest surviving seed in the tournament at #11 … and I have to say that I like the Inhuman pup’s chances in the quarterfinals against those Heroes on the Half-Shell!

Lockjaw

Lockjaw’s coming on like gangbusters, all right!

And so we have our Elite Eight — two dogs, one horse, one duck, one gorilla, one raccoon, one T-Rex, four turtles, and one Moon Boy tagging along for good measure!

WHO WILL WIN THROUGH TO THE FINAL FOUR?

Elite Eight!

As always, your votes will determine the winners!

Vote now in these four Super-Animal Showdowns!

It’s a Legion of Super-Pets grudge match as Krypto (d. Gnort, 84-16) battles Comet (d. Streaky 60-40)

Krypto vs. Comet!

Sarcasm vs. Super-Intelligence as Howard the Duck (d. Throg 51-49) confronts Gorilla Grodd (d. Beppo 71-29)

Howard the Duck vs. Gorilla Grodd!

Firepower vs. pre-historic fury as Rocket Raccoon (d. Det. Chimp 60-40) fights Devil Dinosaur (d. Mr. Mind 51-49)

Rocket Raccoon vs. Devil Dinosaur!

And #3 seed Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (d. Spider-Ham 72-28) can’t afford to stay in their shells against the belle of the ball, Lockjaw! (d. Ace the Bat-Hound 67-33)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles vs. Lockjaw!

You have one week, more-or-less, to cast your votes! Join me back here on Monday, April 6th for the Final Four … and cheer on your favorites in the comments section, below!

Super Tuesday: Get Down, America!

As one of the more Mickey Mouse campaigns in American Presidential history thankfully concludes today, Super Tuesday looks back on an era offering real choice (and a real animal!), with the 1976 White House run of Steve Gerber‘s Howard the Duck.

Howard’s campaign was a genuine grassroots effort. I don’t recall Marvel running house ads for the campaign, but it got play in the letters column of Howard the Duck. An energetic and entrepreneurial Steve Gerber spearheaded the creation and fulfillment of Howard campaign packages for fans sending a few bucks to his address.

It’s hard to imagine today’s Marvel comics allowing a creator to run their own licensing program through the pages of one of their comics (and it is doubly ironic in the case of Howard the Duck, who would later become the subject of a bitter legal battle between Marvel and Steve Gerber).

But in 1976 it was a different world, and Howard invited us to “Get Down, America,” with a platform that offered little in specifics but was still attractive when contrasted with the Carter and Ford campaigns. Alas, Howard’s run came up short (though opinions differ on whether he received a few write-in votes), and America, as history has recorded, did indeed fail to Get Down.

To my international readers … please pardon this partisan interruption, and rest assured we Americans will be even happier than you when this whole thing is over. And to my domestic readers, get out there and vote, early and often!

TOMORROW AT LONGBOX GRAVEYARD: Panel Gallery: Nick Fury By Steranko

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